She never calls me Mike or Mikey. She doesn't call me honey or sweetie or dear...no Gaelic terms of endearment either. With Fiona it's always Michael, every syllable enunciated and stretched out like a cat awakening from an afternoon nap.
But that's not to say that I could ever tire of hearing my name on her lips. Those seven letters strung together in just the right way can tell me everything before she even utters another word.
There's the "Michael" that she lets escape just to taunt me with the vague notion of trouble looming ahead.
"Michael…Why don't we have dinner with your mom tonight?"
"Michael…What do you think about these shoes?"
"Michael…Why don't you ever take me anywhere nice?"
There's the exasperated sigh of "Michael" when I'm distracted and not paying her the attention she feels she's due. That "Michael" might be preceded by a door slamming. Or it might be accompanied by a plate that gets set down just shy of hard enough to break. Or, if I'm really in trouble, it might be accompanied by the sound of Fiona pumping a round into a shotgun and then aiming it at my head.
I'm occasionally treated to the breathy, lust-filled "Michael" that she whispers in my ear in the middle of the night, right before she slips on top of me and starts peeling off our clothing.
"Michael…Wake up, I just had the most amazing dream."
Then, soon after, in her most vulnerable, uncontrollable moment she'll scream "Michael" in her native accent and if I close my eyes I swear I can smell Guinness and damp wool sweaters.
There's a crisp, casual "Michael" she uses if she actually decides to answer the phone when I call.
There's one "Michael" that's so sweet it makes my teeth hurt. It's generally employed as part of a cover ID...either that or dinner at Mom's. It takes the strength of all my years of training not to cringe when I hear it.
And then there's the one "Michael" that's been stalking my dreams lately, the frantic, panicked "Michael" that was the last thing I heard before O'Neill clocked me with his handgun. She screams my name in my nightmares and I wake up panting and sweating, gripping the gun under my pillow. And if she's not already sleeping beside me, I dial her number and unconsciously hold my breath, just until I can hear her voice answering, "Michael?"